87 to 1: Airbnb’s Expansion into Vacation Rental Industry

Back in March I was called in to meet with a contact from Summit Partners who was hungrily chasing after a Boise company. I laughed, telling them that everyone wants “in” with this particular company, adding that I love that they have zero interest in taking on investment dollars.

 These are fun meetings because I get a chance to turn the conversation and talk about the lesser-known “A-Gamers” out of my local Idaho. I knew that Summit’s portfolio interests were a perfect match for two local startups.

“Have you met with Matt Rissell over at TSheets?”

“No, I haven't heard of them.”

(grin) “You need to know about TSheets. Keep your eye on what they’re doing.”

Fast-forward seven months and TSheets and Summit Partners announce a $15 million deal.

Now, I’m not saying my conversation had any impact on the deal, but there are several “lesser-known A-Gamers” here in Boise that you should keep your eye on. 

Let me tell you about one of the best: LiveRez.

Introducing the Backbone of the Homesharing Industry

Airbnb signaled its plans to integrate their software for vacation rental businesses earlier this year. After analyzing 87 different platforms, they chose one: LiveRez, an Eagle, Idaho based company. LiveRez is the leader in cloud-based vacation rental software and Tracy Lotz and his team are doing over $1 billion in transactions this year in an industry that is making huge waves across the globe.

This comes right as Expedia announced its $3.9 billion acquisition of HomeAway, an Airbnb competitor. Earlier this year, Expedia purchased Travelocity and its rival, Orbitz Worldwide.

So what is LifeRez up to now? Two weeks ago, over 400 vacation rental owners flew in to Sun Valley for the LiveRez partner conference and the energy felt like so much more than just business: it felt like a movement.

Olympic Gold Medalist, Picabo Street inspires the room.

Airbnb and LiveRez have a relationship with their partners unlike any I've seen before – particularly in comparison with other giants in this industry. They give financial help, competitive differentiation, and customer support to their partners while other providers are squeezing margins. I believe that one way to forecast the success of a business is by listening to the testaments of its partners and clients -- and if what I saw at Sun Valley remains true, Airbnb and LiveRez are about to really shake up this industry.

Keep your eye on these guys -- they're the real deal.